Pandemic lesson: If there’s a will, there’s a way to change consumption habits.
Humanity will have burned through all the natural resources that the planet can replenish for 2020 by yesterday (Saturday), according to researchers who said the grim milestone is slightly later than last year after the pandemic slowed runaway overconsumption.
So-called Earth Overshoot Day – the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth can renew annually – has crept steadily earlier since the 1970s, according to the Global Footprint Network.
The group calculates the point will be reached on August 22, compared to July 29 in 2019, marking a rare reversal after lockdowns to slow the new coronavirus caused a temporary decline in emissions and wood harvesting.
This reduced humanity’s footprint by 9.3 per cent compared to last year, they said.But that is “not something to celebrate”, said Mathis Wackernagel, president of Global Footprint Network, in an online presentation.”It’s not done by design, it’s done by disaster,” he added.Researchers calculate the date humanity overshoots its planetary budget by looking at “all the human demands” for food, energy, space for houses and roads and what would be needed to absorb global C02 emissions, Wackernagel said.Comparing that with what is sustainably available, they estimate that humanity is using 60 per cent more than can be renewed – the equivalent of 1.6 planets.”It’s like with money. We can spend more than what we earned, but not forever,” said Wackernagel.The study estimated that the pandemic had driven a 14.5 per cent decrease in humanity’s carbon footprint compared to 2019, while forest products saw an 8.4 per cent fall, largely because of smaller harvests anticipating poor demand.Researchers said that the pandemic had caused huge disruption to global agricultural systems and markets, but concluded that ultimately there was little change to the scale of humanity’s food footprint.Global Footprint Network has said that efforts to control the pandemic show that changing consumption habits in a short time frame is possible, adding that the overshoot date is “an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on the future we want”.Speaking at the launch presentation Marco Lambertini, the head of WWF International, said the pandemic had hit the vulnerable hardest and brought into focus “our unsustainable, wasteful, destructive frankly, relationship with nature”.He called for a “decoupling” of economic development from environmental degradation.”We can develop, but not at the expense of the planet because we know that the planet in crisis is a society in crisis, and an economy in crisis,” he added.
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Saleh receives Indian envoy
KUWAIT: Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh receives Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George.KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh received Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George on Wednesday in his office, according to a press release issued by the Indian Embassy. The ambassador thanked the minister for hosting…
KUWAIT: Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh receives Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George.KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh received Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George on Wednesday in his office, according to a press release issued by the Indian Embassy. The ambassador thanked the minister for hosting the Indian community in Kuwait.
George and Saleh discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and means of further enhancing and strengthening them. They also reviewed various aspects of existing bilateral cooperation. Mutual matters of interest, including topics pertaining to the Indian diaspora, latest developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic and bilateral cooperation to fight the pandemic were also discussed during the meeting, the statement added.
Polish court allows stricter abortion law, sparking outcry
Chief justice says existing legislation that allowed abortion of malformed fetuses was ‘incompatible’ with the constitution.Poland’s constitutional court has struck down a provision of the country’s abortion law allowing Europe’s most strict legislation to be further tightened and provoking an outcry from rights groups. Chief justice Julia Przylebska said in a ruling on Thursday existing…
Chief justice says existing legislation that allowed abortion of malformed fetuses was ‘incompatible’ with the constitution.Poland’s constitutional court has struck down a provision of the country’s abortion law allowing Europe’s most strict legislation to be further tightened and provoking an outcry from rights groups.
Chief justice Julia Przylebska said in a ruling on Thursday existing legislation, which allows for the abortion of malformed fetuses, was “incompatible” with the constitution.
The verdict, which is final and cannot be appealed, drew immediate condemnation from the Council of Europe, whose Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic called it “a sad day for #WomensRights”.
Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in #Poland amounts to a ban & violates #HumanRights. Today’s ruling of the Constitutional Court means underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford & even greater ordeal for all others. A sad day for #WomensRights.
— Commissioner for Human Rights (@CommissionerHR) October 22, 2020
“Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in #Poland amounts to a ban & violates #HumanRights,” Mijatovic tweeted.
“Today’s ruling … means underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford & even greater ordeal for all others.”
Since 1993, Poland has only allowed abortions in case of rape or incest, a threat to the mother’s life or a deformed fetus.
Now the court ruling could pave the way for legislators from the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party to approve draft legislation that would ban pregnancy terminations in the case of fetuses with congenital birth defects.
Many Polish women bridled when PiS backed the bill originating as a popular petition earlier this year, prompting conservative legislators to refer the matter to the constitutional court.
The tribunal, whose main role is to ensure any law complies with the constitution, underwent government reforms in 2016 that led critics to contend it is stacked with PiS allies.
Police separate pro-choice activists, right, carrying a poster saying ‘We are not incubators’ from anti-abortion rights protesters, left, in front of Poland’s constitutional court in Warsaw [Wojtek Radwanski/AFP]‘Blood on your hands’
Former liberal Polish Prime Minister and PiS critic Donald Tusk called the timing of the abortion issue “political wickedness”.
“Throwing the topic of abortion and a ruling by a pseudo-court into the middle of a raging pandemic is more than cynical,” the head of the European People’s Party tweeted.
The NGO Action Democracy, which had gathered more than 210,000 signatures against the stricter law, issued a statement saying the court delivered “a shameful, political verdict dictated by right-wing fundamentalists”.
Leftist legislator Barbara Nowacka blamed the devoutly Catholic country’s bishops, telling them at a news conference in parliament: “You have blood on your hands.”
PiS-allied President Andrzej Duda has said if approved by the parliament he would sign the draft legislation into law.
On Thursday, his spokesman Blazej Spychalski said “the president’s views on this matter are well-known and haven’t changed. We’re satisfied that the constitutional court sided with life”, he was quoted by the Polish news agency PAP as saying.
The country of 38 million people sees fewer than 2,000 legal abortions a year, but women’s groups estimate up to 200,000 procedures are performed illegally or abroad.
An attempt by the PiS government to tighten the abortion law in 2016 was scrapped following nationwide protests by tens of thousands of women dressed in black.